The Ghost of Christmas future: 15 performance marketers' predictions for 2022

2022 will be a year of crumbling cookies, metaverse melees and Omicron uncertainty. The PMW team has assembled 15 leaders in the UK performance marketing industry to get their predictions and tips for the coming 12 months.

Attention will be the new advertising currency

Nick Reid, Regional VP of Northern Europe, DoubleVerify: “The shift in focus to attention metrics, alongside advancements in areas such as contextual targeting, is the natural next step in providing advertisers with better quality inventory and stronger results. Privacy regulations and the deprecation of cookies are undoubtedly accelerating this change. However, the shift to attention as the industry’s new currency isn’t only reactive, but grows out of verification solutions. Advances in verification in recent years have continually improved the baseline quality for ads by tackling fraudsters, boosting safety, and providing brands with clarity over their ad performance - the attention ecosystem is the next stage in its evolution.”

Privacy changes and zero party data will boost B2B advertising

Abhishek Shrivastava Senior Director of Product, LinkedIn: “Right now, with all of the privacy changes underway, B2B advertising can feel like an uncertain climb. It can feel daunting not knowing how you will reach your prospective buyers and measure the success of your campaigns. Despite the massive uncertainties that lie ahead, there are bright spots – such as harnessing first-party data – that will be critical to your future success. B2B marketers are charting a new course – one built on a foundation of privacy-first technologies – that will have us delivering even better results for our organisations.

“With constant changes to digital privacy settings and eventual death of the third-party cookie, the digital advertising industry is at a crossroads. Gone are the days of leveraging third-party cookies to help marketers surface relevant ads based on user purchase patterns. Marketers must tap into ‘zero party data,’ information that’s willingly shared with brands they trust, to validate user intent and thus deliver personalised experiences at scale. Self-reported, inherently trustworthy and automatically compliant, zero party data can greatly increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, since activations are based on information coming directly from the source.” 

Walmart DSP heralds a shift in retail advertising

Phil Duffield, VP UK, The Trade Desk: “One up-and-coming advertising channel that will earn the spotlight in 2022 is retail. As huge swathes of consumers have shifted more of their lives online to purchase everything from toys to toiletries, the past two years have illuminated the immense volume and value of retail data for marketers.

“This year, a landmark announcement from Walmart saw the retailer launch its own DSP, allowing advertisers to fully leverage the transformational power of its first-party shopper data. And just last month, Tesco announced itself as a media owner - so it’s clear to see the appetite to harness retail data on both sides of the pond.  In 2022, we should expect to see retailers, big and small, embracing the immense opportunity at hand. This shift will herald the threading together of retailers’ online and offline worlds, allowing them to provide a seamless omnichannel experience - the likes of which consumers and advertisers alike haven’t seen yet.”

The e-commerce experience will go even further beyond the transaction

Harmony Murphy, GM Advertising UK, eBay: “The days when e-commerce was simply about selling products online are well behind us. Shoppers’ expectations of e-commerce are rising, and they are now actively seeking out experiences that go beyond the transaction. They want a simple, relevant and engaging experience at every touchpoint, no matter what channel they’re using to shop. And with consumers today having seemingly endless choice for how and where they spend their money – and more people than ever shopping online – brands cannot afford to be complacent.  

"In 2022, the brands that come out ahead will be those that optimise their omnichannel strategies and – as part of this – look for innovative ways to bring the benefits of the in-store shopping experience to their customers online. From creating personalised, premium and intuitive shopping experiences, to emphasising human connections and community — this will help them to streamline physical and online shopping and add value to their customers’ lives.”

TikTok becomes the epicentre of culture in the new normal 

Kris Boger, General Manager, Global Business Solutions UK, TikTok: "Looking back at what has been another exceptional year in marketing, what strikes me is the sheer diversity of brands showing up on TikTok, spanning all sizes and sectors, and the creativity they are bringing to the platform and community.

"With TikTok, there’s an opportunity to be at the epicentre of culture – somewhere all marketers strive to be - and each of these brands has grasped that in their own unique way. We're only just beginning to scratch the surface of TikTok's potential to help brands unleash their creativity, reach new audiences and monetise. I can't wait to see the amazing ways they'll continue connecting with our community in 2022."

Put the customer, and their privacy, first

Sara Spivey, CMO, Braze: “Moving into the new year, marketers need to come to the realization that they shouldn’t be overly reliant on third-party data. All the momentum around consumer privacy is only going in one direction. Companies that do not understand how to use first-party data as a marketing tool are going to get left behind.  Invest in your customers’ loyalty and lifetime value instead of throwing money at buying access to them through other platforms. Shift your strategy now before the shifting ecosystem forces the fix on you. 

“Marketers should re-evaluate their chosen digital properties, and pull back on paid advertising on some of these platforms like Facebook because they aren’t getting a good ROI. Lastly, successful marketers are accountable for outcomes that can be directly tied to revenue attainment. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success with the proper metrics around activation, monetization, and retention of your customers to be able to show the ROI on the increased marketing investment this year.” 

Younger generations no longer driven by in-store experiences, but by values

Dr Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights, iStock: “Consumers now expect ALL brands to be transparent about their commitment to sustainability and, broadly, towards ‘social good.’ This dovetails with ESG efforts on the rise at large organisations today but are just as important in 2022 for small business too so a key factor to keep top of mind when creating marketing campaigns. Embrace sustainability as a fundamental of your business, and don’t be shy about shouting about it!”   

Brands embracing D2C will win as third-party cookies become irrelevant 

Jack Wearne, CEO, Ve Global: “Brands already know how to deliver boutique experiences in-store, but the shift to e-commerce means they now need to replicate this online. Going D2C offers brands the opportunity to present themselves exactly how they want to be presented, to control their own messaging and cultivate a unique user experience to rival a flagship high street store.

“In 2022, with or without the action of regulators, it’s vital that retailers listen to their privacy-conscious customers and ditch outdated data strategies. Moving to honest and transparent strategies like zero-party data - information that customers freely, and intentionally share with a business - presents an opportunity for brands to reduce these pain points and build stronger relationships with their customers.”

A single source of ‘truth’ to simplify customer experience

Inken Kuhlmann-Rhinow, EMEA Marketing Director, HubSpot: “UK businesses are facing yet another difficult sales period following increased restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, knocking the confidence of shoppers. Now is the time for businesses to re-evaluate how they’re operating internally.

“After all, any internal complexity will translate to the external customer experience, and this can easily jeopardise hard-earned customer loyalty. From simple touchpoints like the website or chatbots, to bigger interactions like sales emails and customer service calls, businesses cannot risk tech complexity muddying the customer experience. No matter their shape or size, all businesses need to ensure that all of their customer-facing teams - whether marketing, sales or customer service- are working from a single source of ‘truth’ on a customer to deliver a seamless experience. To pull this off, businesses will need to simplify their tech stack and lean on tools that can provide simplicity and power to deliver a manageable and delightful experience. This will be crucial to ensure they don’t lose their competitive edge for the new year”.

Apple versus Google: data privacy arms race 

James Manderson, VP of Customer Success, Braze:  “Apple and Google are in an arms race when it comes to data privacy, and it’s no longer a matter of mere legal compliance. It’s a selling point, and customers demand it. Apple is leading the way, using its privacy credentials to attract consumers and highlighting them as a differentiator from the other big players. And as privacy demands become more ubiquitous, using third party data to drive revenue through advertising will continue to get harder.  However, brands that build direct relationships with their customers stand to benefit. With ad costs on the rise, not to mention impending privacy regulations, it’s never been more important and urgent to wrestle back control of your customer relationships.” 

Carrefour shows how supermarkets are becoming acquisitive players in adtech

David Fieldhouse, CRO, Adimo: “If 2021 saw the accelerated and irreversible consumer uptake of e-commerce channels, then 2022 will be when FMCG brands shift from a focus on advertising reach and frequency online to a greater focus on end-point sale. This emphasis change is driven by three key areas: platforms, data and creative. 

“Retailers as advertising platforms is a major trend for next year. The marrying of audience scale, data and point of purchase is a tantalising proposition for many FMCG brands. It will be interesting to see how well these retailers engage with the buying community through 2022. A similar approach to data and retail media was seen with the launch of Carrefour Links. With this platform powered by Criteo, Google and LiveRamp, supermarket chains may become new acquisitive players in the adtech ecosystem in 2022 and beyond.”

Growth towards a more inclusive society

Verra Budimlija, Chief Strategy Officer, Wavemaker UK: “We believe that the growth models of today will be useless tomorrow. Established approaches and traditional thinking are being exploded in every sector and every market. Understanding the major forces that shape behaviour and adapting to them is critical to survival. 

“In this year’s report, it’s been fantastic to see so many opportunities centred on building a fair and inclusive society. Be it through technology, media or content, I urge marketers to think about how they can embrace previously neglected audiences to build a better world. We know from first hand experience that this inclusive mindset isn’t just better for society, it’s also better for the bottom line.”

The rise of the ‘Internet of Payments’

Marius Galdikas, CEO, ConnectPay: “It is estimated that by 2025, there will likely be more than 27billion Internet of Things (IoT) connections. The growing number of IoT devices is rapidly shaping the everyday habits of consumers, including the way they choose to pay. This led the financial world to coin a new term – Internet of Payments (IoP) – which refers to a phenomenon that enables payment processing over IoT devices, for example, smart home assistants, like Amazon Alexa, or smaller everyday accessories, such as Apple Watch. IoP is currently at a nascent stage, however, as the market is becoming more saturated with IoT-driven devices, payments market players need to develop a blueprint on how to take advantage of this disruptive force.

“The merger of IoT and payments brings consumers extraordinary convenience with reduced friction. As Open Banking enables third-party providers and fintechs to take on the roles of IoP providers, this opens up an entirely new area for innovation. Also, IoT creates the opportunity for businesses to gather more data about the consumers, which will help to elevate user experiences.”

Preparing for the metaverse

Aaron Goldman, CMO, Mediaocean: “It might sound premature to suggest that 2022 will be a big year for marketing and advertising in the metaverse, with even Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging that experiencing it is “a little tough, because it doesn’t fully exist yet”. We’re moving towards the future of the media, entertainment, communication, and commerce – and it’s going to be a mad scramble, not an orderly march. Even if we don’t see much adoption of the metaverse in the next twelve months, I do think that we’ll see the groundwork being laid for how brands will ultimately operate in it.

“That will probably mean some high profile brands making experimental forays into the space, similar to the NBA and Disney’s NFT efforts. More importantly, though, it will lead to greater recognition of the widening gap between our traditional idea of what marketing looks like and how it needs to operate in this new reality. None of this innovation, it needs to be said, will eliminate the billboard or the TV spot – or even social media ­– as communications channels for brands. Rather, this will be a future of highly diversified media consumption – and marketers will need more flexible creative, more agile activation, and more intelligent measurement in order to thrive in this environment. This year, then, might not be the year when the metaverse becomes a default element of campaigns – but it should and will be the year when marketing agencies and brands start thinking seriously about whether they are ‘metaverse-ready’.”

The early days of “big data” are over 

Kevin Wang, SVP of Product, Braze: “We’re reaching a tipping point with data centralisation and automation. The early days of “big data” are over, and companies that have built systems to use data well are out-competing those who can’t. The winners are shifting gears to operationalise data and the corresponding insights to deliver business value: making better decisions and creating more personalised experiences. AI and other forms of automation will accelerate this trend as they’re able to deliver step function increases in value, and lean, upstart teams are able to build world-class customer experiences. This will ultimately lead to wins for consumers and brands as they build long-term relationships.”

The stay ahead of the curve in 2022, sign up to the free US Insight Series event on 15th February from Performance Marketing World. The virtual event will give you a chance to hear from the biggest brands in the world, including Google, Coca-Cola and Reebok, discussing tips and trends on the latest data marketing strategies that count.